By KATHY SMITH
With the weather getting warmer and days longer, now is the time to get outside to walk.
Walking can be done by anyone. It is recommended that everyone exercise at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. Walking is one way to exercise. Walking for just 15 minutes has been shown to have a calming affect that lasts more than one hour. After just six weeks, a progressive walking program can result in significant physical improvements. As with any exercise, it is important to check with your physician before beginning. Start slow to prevent injury and muscle soreness.
Walking is an aerobic exercise that is good for your heart. Walking improves the cardiovascular system that includes the heart, lungs and circulatory system. Walking exercises the heart by increasing the number of beats per minute. An aerobic walking program lowers the heart rates because the heart becomes more efficient, even at rest.
The results of walking can be documented by keeping track of your pulse. To take your pulse, place your first two fingers (not your thumb) on the thumb side of your wrist below your wrist bone. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats for 10 seconds and then multiply that by six to find out how many times per minute your heart beats. To receive maximum benefits, your heart rate needs to be in the target heart range. To find out your range, subtract your age from 220. Multiply that result by 0.70 and 0.80. Those two numbers will represent the low and high of your target heart rate range.
Before any exercise it is important to warm up stiff muscles. Begin with a slow walk 5 to 10 minutes. After you have completed the slow walk, you can begin stretching. There are two steps to stretching properly in the easy stretch. Stretch to a point where you feel mild tension, relax and hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Gently proceed further into the second portion of the stretch by moving a fraction of an inch, until you again begin to feel tension and hold for 10 to 30 seconds. You should feel the tension gradually. Noe you are ready to walk.